Saturday 11 March 2023

Three Poems by Lynda Tavakoli


For my father

In a unit for the mentally infirm

I offer you my love in the form of a dog

so lifelike you expect its tail to wag

or its soft muzzle to crinkle into smiles.

It’s a collie – a she, a Daisy-dog to give comfort

when your night-walls are soughed by the demented

and God has forgotten the numbered password at your door.


I have seen the woman with her baby many times,

its doll head bobbing on her ribs,

the lullaby that sings upon her tongue

a comfort only to the bogus child

immured within those skinned and skinny limbs.

She walks the ward oblivious to all but

what contentment comes before

the longer shreds of darkness that will

swallow up her memory whole.


So I tender you my good intent –

this spurious gift I think will link an alien present

with the familiar past but even then,

with all that has been lost to you,

you recognise its falsity. 

‘That’s a dead dog,’ you say,

the words raged from that part of you

still holding on and holding on.




For my mother

Even now your warmth tortures me

though you decided for yourself

to leave without us being there.


And me, wishing you back,

able only to stare

at the hollow of your throat

to a pulse extinguished

suddenly to stillness.


For in the end we are simply left

with sadnesses,

their shadows shocking

as they cross the sun,

while in between remains

the light that says life carries on,


only because it does.




For my aunt

On a corridor of fresh-painted magnolia

sunbeams stroke from Velux windows

onto freckled carpets, while a television

talks too loudly to itself in someone’s room.


I find you sleeping, head sagged

as on a mis-hung coat hanger, hair,

just brushed, still full of war-time curls,

a legacy that did not pass itself to me.


I say your name, see the reluctant

wakening of your eyes, the disappointment

you had not slept your way to heaven.

You have told me this before.


Today we talk of blue dresses and funerals

and how you love my coat, and how

you love my coat, the colour redolent

of something already scudding out of view. 


You ask me now if this is what you do,

just sit and wait, and wait and sit,

the resignation in your voice

the hardest thing for me to bear.


For in this room, that thief of time

has measured out its false remembrance in

the ticking of a clock, as the past becomes the present

and the present loiters somewhere in the past.

Lynda Tavakoli lives in County Down, Northern Ireland, where she facilitates an adult creative writing class and is a tutor for the Seamus Heaney Award for schools.

A poet, novelist and freelance journalist, Lynda’s writings have been published in the UK, Ireland, the US and the Middle East, with Farsi and Spanish translations. She has been winner of both poetry and short story prizes in Listowel, The Westival International Poetry Prize and runner- up in The Blackwater International Poetry Competition and Roscommon Poetry Competition.

Her poems have also appeared in The Irish Times, New Irish Writing. Lynda’s debut poetry collection, ‘The Boiling Point for Jam’ is published by Arlen House and includes these three poems about the different aspects of war.


1 comment:

  1. Congratulations. Three remarkable and very meaningful Poems. Thank you


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